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The Samas have a new home – this year they will be held over two evenings in Joburg, at Montecasino in Fourways, to be precise.
THE two-night South African Music Awards ceremony is moving from its traditional venue at the Sun City Superbowl, in North West Province, and Joburg will host the event for the first time in its 17-year history. It will be held from 20 to 21 May.

The South African Music AwardsJandre Louw, the new Sama chief executive, says the awards were moved to Joburg to make them more accessible to fans. “We want more participation from the public. This year we are hoping to double the public audience that is normally at Sun City.”

The main event will take place in the area usually set aside for tennis tournaments. Normally resonating to the thwack of tennis balls, it will be turned into a multiple-stage venue. About 5 000 people are expected to attend.

“We will always ensure that this proposition remains current, fresh, cutting edge and ahead of current trends,” explains Caroline Hillary, a publicist from Red Flag design and marketing, the Sama publicists.

Organisers promise to deliver “the most electrifying productions on the South African calendar”. “Thousands of music fans will experience first-hand a multi-dimensional world-class event and televised production accompanied by a host of exciting live performances and star-spotting opportunities on the yellow carpet,” Hillary adds.

The names of more than 100 nominees, many of whom cut their musical teeth in Joburg, will be announced at a nomination party on Wednesday, 13 April. From these, the finalists will be chosen.

Artist of the year
There are over 50 categories in the Samas. But the most-watched are for album of the year, duo or group of the year, female artist of the year, male artist of the year, newcomer of the year and the modified MTN record of the year.

A Sama is the highest music accolade an artist, band or producer can get in South Africa, making it the most coveted award for musical excellence. The awards cross all genres and include production, engineering and video. They are sponsored by the cellphone network provider, MTN, and the beer company, Heineken.

The Heineken spokesperson, Jan Willem van Wensem, says the Samas are a benchmark for South Africa’s diverse musical talent. “To be a part of the South African Music Awards is a great achievement and we are all extremely proud of the cosmopolitan mix of great South African artists featured annually through this event.”

Natasha Basson, the acting general manager for brand and communications at MTN South Africa, says the company’s support of the awards underpins its ongoing commitment to promote local music.

They are a platform for growth, development and sustainability for local musicians, she adds. Hosting the event at Montecasino will ensure that more tickets are available and sold, including selective VIP packages.

For regular updates and more information on the awards, visit the Sama Facebook page, the Sama website or follow them on Twitter.

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